Tributes paid to Scarborough’s ‘Mr Chips’, 84

Charles McCarthy
Charles McCarthy

The businessman who brought McCain to Scarborough and helped set up the new Stephen Joseph Theatre – among many other achievements – has died aged 84.

Charles McCarthy, who was known to most as “Mac”, passed away at home on New Year’s Eve.

A dedicated businessman, family man and supporter of good causes, Mr McCarthy was responsible for starting up the first McCain factory outside Canada.

He started the UK branch of the company from home, supported by his wife Sheila, and the Scarborough factory opened in 1968. Mr McCarthy stepped down as chairman at the end of 1997.

His career highlights include receiving a CBE in the 1993 New Year’s Honours list and being made Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough in 1996.

He was also heavily involved in the arts, ploughing both time and funds into creating the current Stephen Joseph Theatre, where the McCarthy cinema bears his name.

Mr McCarthy also helped save the YMCA in 1996, pledging money from McCain and his own pocket to the cash-strapped theatre following county council grant cuts.

He was also president and chairman of Scarborough Cricket Club and chairman of governors at Scarborough Sixth Form College.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn said: “An astute, tough businessman, but at the same time a caring family man and generous friend, I believe he delighted in the cut and thrust of the real life commercial arena almost equally as much as he did the make-believe magic of the arts world. A man of many passions whom we shall all miss greatly. People like Mac are rare and special.”

Businessman Malcolm Stephenson said: “He always followed and supported my exploits over many years but they pale into total insignificance against the stature of this businessman. His work within the McCain group was sensational. Greatest respect and love to his wife and family.”

Paying tribute to his father, Andrew McCarthy said: “Everybody knew the public face of Mac: the drive behind building the McCain business and the strong supporter of so many aspects of Scarborough life.

“We remember Mac, Dad, Pappa the loving husband, father, grand- and great-grand father who was always there to love us, guide us and care for us.

“He always said we were so lucky as a family, to have each other and to enjoy life so much. We think we were truly lucky to have had him in our lives.”